... kiss my contemporary ars (this too shall pass)

Self portrait in the dark

Painting/study (WIP): This is an experiment in painting techniques.

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Untitled (study, wip).
Acrylics on manipulated paper, mounted on manipulated grey paper. 2018- (wip - state 9). 36x48cm

Read on for info and photos of previous states...

Using artists jargon, this is "a study". A tool to examine and test properties of quite specific techniques. Normally only the painter will ever see studies like this. Usually they disappear under subsequent layers of paint, or they are discarded.

For this study focus is on the interaction between various types of underpaint (eg. Verdaccio) with various types of effects: light/shadow, highlight/deep shadow, cold/warm hues...

Previous states:

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Untitled. (work-in-progress)
Top: state 1 (left), state 2 (middle), state 3 (right)
Middle: state 4 (left), state 5 (middle), state 6 (right).
Bottom: state 7 (left), state 8 (middle).

State one was painted in quick movements using a painters spatula (palette knife). The lighter layer was applied using a sponge.

State 2-4 were painted using fingers only, no brush. State 5-6 were painted with brush, the background in state 6 was done with a plant mist bottle and a piece of cloth.

In terms of anatomical properties, from state 3 on the painting is getting closer to "a real face". However, similarity has not been a priority and no reference photo was used; everything was/is painted from memory. Hence "... in the dark".


The word "verdaccio" is Italian, derived from "verde" which means "green". It is technical jargon for a specific technique used by medieval painters, mainly in portraits and religious fantasies (taken together, these two groups constitute the vast majority of medieval painting.)

Verdaccio, in brief, is a specific kind of underpainting using a mixture of black and ochre (yellow-ish) paint, applied in several layers on top of each other.

When viewing a medieval painting you may not see the "verdaccio" part of it at all, even though several layers of the painting may be just that and nothing else. The photos here show layers that will normally be hidden below the finished painting, and hence invisible to the viewer.

2019.05.11 09:47 in Painting


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